Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beauty and the Beholder

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

My goal as I write in this blog is to find things that tickle my fancy and to share them with you. Those of you who know me, know that I am not an artsy kind of guy. Yes, I enjoy good art, but I would be hard put to describe to you what I think constitutes good art. Were you to force me to describe good art, I would choke out words like 'beauty' and 'higher truth' and 'transcendental' and such in the hopes that you would go away and leave me alone.

Often I am presented with 'objets' that someone obviously considers to be art - and that may in fact be art - but they just beat heck out of me.

The Incheon International Airport is a case in point. If you click that link and look at the pictures you will see what I mean. The airport structure is very flowing and aerodynamic. I don't find it particularly aesthetic, but your mileage may vary.

Being a freight dog, we don't get to go through the main entrance that the passengers use. We go around to the east side of the airport to the teeming and busy cargo ramp. For those who do enter the airport normally, there is a large sculpture that greets them at the entrance. As us freight dogs taxi out to take off this work is very easy to see out on the horizon. At night, bright lights illuminate it - you can't miss it. It has elicited more than a few comments over the years in what is supposed to be a 'sterile cockpit environment.' I give you this picture:

As I have said before, good art encourages the observer to impose interpretations upon it. I suppose one could say that the sculpture engenders the soaring promise of aviation to the hopeful souls on the globe below.

You are looking at the front side of the sculpture as the artist intended you to first see it. Us freight dogs usually see this thing from the backside and trust me, it looks different from that side.

Personally, I think the artist is having a giggle at our expense. I offer this blog as evidence supporting my viewpoint. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.

As always, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gooey Ducks

"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic." - Frank Herbert, Dune

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

On Hanukkah, (Dec 12, 2009) we 'operated' from Anchorage down to Seoul, Korea. It is not often that a freight dog experiences whimsy professionally and I feel compelled to tell you about it when it does.

The last 'cans' to get loaded before we close up the jet are the 'Haz Cans'.

We make a lot of money flying Hazardous Freight that the people carriers are not allowed to have on their jet. 'Haz' is closely regulated and monitored by the FAA and the EPA. There is a huge 40 page or so chapter in our Flight Operations Manual giving me detailed guidance in how handle this sort of freight.

'Live animals' are included on the Haz paperwork because the proximity and location of the two needs to be considered and planned for. Usually, the First Officer goes back and inspects the loading of the Haz, does a 'bufoonery check' on the paperwork and brings it to me for approval and my signature.

On this flight, he has a goofy look on his face as he hands me the paperwork. He says something that sounds to me like:

"There are gooey ducks loaded on the main deck."

"Say whut?", sez I, somewhat stupidly.

"Gooey Ducks".

"Whazza Gooey Dux?"

"I think they are burrowing clams. They are a delicacy in Asia."

At this point, I am intrigued. However, there is a time and place for everything, and learning more about gooey dux ten minutes before push-back, start-up, taxi and takeoff is not a good idea. What is important is knowing what we have to do to maintain an environment conducive to delivering the gooey dux to the customer in the desired condition. So, I ask:

"Whaddawegoddadoo for the gooey dux?"

"Looks like it says keep the temperature at 60 degrees or so."

I can do that, so I sign the haz paperwork and we blast off into the long, delirious, burning blue and cruise for 8.5 hours to the mysterious Orient and Seoul, Korea.

Safely tucked away in the Seoul Hilton, I made it a high priority to begin researching the novel new concept of gooey dux. I found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoduck

So....a geoduck is a very large clam prized in asia as a delicacy. Ugly critters - although they may be genesis of the phrase: 'As happy as a clam.' On the other hand, maybe not.

I can now add geoducks to lobsters, seafood, baby chicks, horses and live turtles to my personal menagerie of animals I've flown with.

I ain't doing 'snakes on a plane.'

As a conclusion, I discovered this link:


I pity da fool who ain't seen Mike Rowe's, Discovery Channel show, 'Dirty Jobs'. I post this link with some concern as I am not allowed to view this video in mysterious Asia. I have heard from reputable sources that the show plays off the prurient nature of the geoduck reproductive process.

You cannot say that you have not been warned.

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blue Eyed Soul

A north wind in Texas didn't care whose ass it stung, just like a sad song didn't care whose heart it broke.
-- Dan Jenkins, Baja Oklahoma

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

You will find below a music video. I highly recommend that you don't play it if you are somewhere that you might find it embarrassing to get a little misty eyed. The song is about the 'Angel Flights' that return our fallen heroes home from the battlefield.

This song has a lot of connections to my kids in various ways. I found out about the song when my oldest son, George, sent me this email this morning:


Normally, I think country music is a big bag of gay, but I know you guys liked Radney Foster from the Texas/Del Rio music scene.

Four fans of freedom!


George - sensitive and sentimental soul that he is - is at present deployed to Kuwait and flying missions throughout the area in the C-130s you see in the video. The 'Four Fans of Freedom' is a motto of the guys who fly the Herks - one of the few airplanes in the Air Force that still have propellers. He has flown missions with fallen heroes in the back of his airplane.

On to Radney Foster and Del Rio. We lived in Del Rio, Texas for about 11 years. My youngest daughter, Katie was born there and both Jaime and Katie pretty much grew up there. Radney's family is a well established family in the city and well known. Radney's mom was both Jaybo and Katie's first grade teacher.

Radney Foster gave a charity concert once to support their school. It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

I post this to tug on your heart strings a little. It certainly tugged on mine.

I remain,

Dad / Geoff